Friday, October 31, 2008

East Kent open mic sessions

The lack of musical interaction in my life has motivated me to get out a bit more.

In the last couple of weeks I've played open mic sessions (solo saz) at The Carpenters Arms (bit of a weird location, a sports pub, where the local clientele awkwardly coexist with the musical crowd one night a month) in St. Dunstans, The Smack (friendly little pub near Whitstable seafront) and Orange Street (Canterbury). I've played a mix of folktunes and my own stuff (I managed to slip in "She Moved Through the Fair" -> "Master of the Universe" into the OSMC set, though I don't think anyone's a heavily student-ified crowd, which, despite applauding enthusiastically for everything that gets played, talks loudly through it first).

I haven't yet met anyone who I'm likely to collaborate with yet, but there was someone playing some fantastic, wild modal 12 string guitar jams at Orange Street - Chris Banks - he's very keen on oud music, switched me on to Khaled ben Yahia and Hassan Erraji. Check out the former:

Also, Alex from Whistable's The Psychøtic Reactiøn came over to chat after my set at the Carpenters - gave me a copy of their album Rumble (excellent stuff, complete with answer-phone message from local hero Luke Smith).

Mostly these sessions are dominated by the singer-songwriters...or just people with guitars singing songs. Nothing wrong with that. A lot of it's done really well. Everyone who bothers to react seems to express an appreciation that I'm doing something that isn't that, but I keep coming up against this subtle background assumption that the saz is some kind of "novelty" instrument. It's "exoticness" seems to blind (deafen?) people to what i'm actually playing on it.

It's the same kind of skewed headspace that led to the ridiculous concept of 'world music'

As John Peel once said, "If anyone's got anything that isn't 'world music', please send it to me - I'd really like to hear it". I did find something once (in a junk shop in New Zealand - a CD which claimed to contain 'channeled' music from the Pleiades.) And there was this in the news recently, too.

* * *

I played for a couple of hours last Sunday up in the Good Food Cafe (above Canterbury Wholefoods) for their last Sunday afternoon chill-out session. People eating local organic food, making origami peace cranes, and politely tolerating my psych-folk noodlingz. Thanks to Adam and Liz for having me - would be nice to do it again with percussion and/or harmonium. Things are slowly coming together.


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